Bass is one of the most popular native fish species in North America. Often, anglers dedicate a lot of time, money, and effort to catching this fish. This species is on logos of outdoor shops, and there are even tournaments centered around them. Heck, even country artists write songs about hooking into a big ol’ bass. Thus, be prepared to learn everything you need to know about America’s favorite sport, fish, in this guide to bass fishing.

All The Different Types of Bass and Where To Find Them

  • Largemouth Bass: The most common bass in North America, found in all 50 states in the U.S.A and southern Canada.
  • Smallmouth Bass: Smallies are located in 47 out of 50 states in the U.S.A and eastern provinces of Canada.
  • Striped Bass: Stripers are found along the Atlantic coast of North America.
  • White Bass: The range of this species is widespread in North America and Canadian provinces bordering the Hudson Bay.
  • Black Sea Bass: Is often accidentally caught by anglers targeting other species in the Western Atlantic Ocean.
  • Rock Bass: Native to freshwater areas in east-central North America.
  • Guadalupe Bass: The state fish of Texas, the only place anglers can catch them.
  • Shoal Bass: Native to Florida and Georgia in subtropical waters.
  • Suwanee Bass: Inhabit two river systems in Florida and Georgia.
  • Peacock Bass: A native species in South America, however, has been introduced to Southern Florida waters.

What You Need To Get Started Bass Fishing

Here is a list of things you’ll need to get started bass fishing. We’ll cover some of these items more in-depth in later sections:

Beginner’s Guide to Bass Fishing: How To Catch Bass

Step One: Figure Out What Bass Species To Target

As we stated above, there are multiple bass species you could fish for, depending on your location. Figuring out which ones are most common in your waters is critical because each species grows to a different size. Therefore, you want to make sure your tackle matches up with the size of the fish you’re targeting.

Step Two: Select a Rod and Reel

    Tailored Tackle Bass Rod Combo

The Tailored Tackle bass baitcasting combo with a guide to bass fishing pocketbook against a white background.
    This baitcasting rod and reel combo are perfect for novice bass anglers; it’s affordable, durable, and easy to cast.

Now you’re ready to select a rod and reel that meets your bass fishing needs. Bass rods are available in all shapes, lengths, powers, and actions. There are three major types of rods anglers use for bass fishing:

  • Spinning rod
  • Casting rod
  • Fly rod

So, we suggest using a medium to a medium-heavy-powered rod with a moderate-fast to fast action for beginner bass anglers. For example, one product we like is the Tailored Tackle bass fishing baitcasting combo. Tailored Tackle’s 7’ bass casting rod features a medium-heavy powered blank with a fast action tip. This rod is excellent for all-purpose bass fishing with a line rating of 10 to 25-pounds and a lure rating of ¼ to ¾-ounces.

Plus, the included baitcasting reel is high-quality and easy to use. For instance, this reel features seven ball bearings and a 6.3:1 gear ratio to give you a quick and smooth retrieval. Another beginner-friendly feature of this reel is that you can easily remove the spool if your line gets tangled.

Step Three: Rig Your Line for Bass

Next, after setting up your rod, you want to rig your line specifically for bass. There are two popular rigs anglers will use when bass fishing:

  • Wacky rig
  • Texas rig

Both of these rigs are effective and easy to tie on. For example, the wacky rig makes your worm dance underwater, which irritates bass enough to cause them to strike. This technique works well because it keeps your worm in the strike zone longer, increasing your probability of getting a bite.

Then, Texas rigging a worm is another method that consistently gets bass to bite. For instance, many anglers like Texas-rigged worms because it allows you to get a better hookset after a strike.

Step Four: Select the Right Tackle

    Yum Dinger Classic Worm

Yum Dinger Classic Worm against a white background.
    This soft plastic worm by Yum Lures comes in multiple colors and sizes, and you can rig it in various ways.

Now you’re ready to select tackle. Above, we mentioned two excellent bass rigs for fishing with soft plastic or live worms. However, like any other species, there are other lures you can use for bass. So, here is a list of standard bass lures:

  • Crankbaits
  • Jerkbaits
  • Soft plastic baits
  • Topwater lures
  • Spinnerbaits
  • Buzzbaits
  • Swim jigs

If you would like to learn more about choosing bass tackle, please read our best bass lures article.

Step Five: Learn Where To Locate Bass in Your Local Waters

The best advice I can give you on locating bass is to fish structure and cover. Adult bass like to hold up in covered areas like dense vegetation to ambush prey fish. Then, younger bass like to utilize cover like sunken timber to retreat from predators. Here are some examples of places to find bass:

  • Vegetated waters
  • Fishing docks
  • Sunken logs
  • Rocky riprap
  • Brush piles

Step Six: Cast Your Line

After you’ve found a spot that seems suitable for bass fishing, then you’re ready to cast your line. There are two basic casts ever angler should learn:

  • Sidearm
  • Overhand

Then, once you have mastered those two basic casts, you can move onto more advanced casting techniques like:

  • Underhand
  • Pitching
  • Flipping
  • Skipping

Learning new casting techniques can be difficult, so don’t get discouraged if your first cast lands your lure in a tree.

Step Seven: Set Your Hook

Nothing feels worse than losing a fish because you set the hook improperly. As you gain more experience fishing, you’ll learn different hook setting techniques that are better for specific scenarios than others. However, the simplest way for novice anglers to set a hook is by sweeping your rod up or to the side in one swift motion. The purpose of setting a hook is to ensure its point is firmly in the fish’s lip, so they can’t spit out your lure.

Step Eight: Land Your First Bass

    Plusinno Floating Fishing Net

Plusinno Floating Fishing Net against a white background.
    Plusinno’s fishing net is floatable so that you won’t lose it in the water. Also, it features a collapsable telescopic pole, making it more convenient to store and transport.

Next, after you set your hook reel in your bass, you can either land them by hand or using a landing net. For beginner anglers, we recommend using a net to help you bring in your first fish. For example, one net we like is the Plussino floating fishing net. It’s collapsable and easy to store whether you’re fishing on the bank, in a boat, or a kayak.

Step Nine: Keep or Release Your Fish

Lastly, after you’ve secured your bass, it’s time to either keep or release your fish. Most importantly, before keeping any fish, make sure to check your water’s fishing regulations double. Many areas have size restrictions on certain bass species.

Now You’re Ready to Catch Some Bass!

In conclusion, bass fishing is a great way to get you hooked on angling. Plus, you can apply many techniques and practices you acquire from bass fishing to target other species. Anyways, we hope this information has helped you get one step closer to catching your first bass. So, if you have any questions, please let us know in the comments below. If you feel this article has greatly benefited you, then please consider sharing it via social media.